Tulare County Family Challenge changes lives one week at a time
Tulare County is facing the obesity epidemic head-on with the Family Challenge Program that challenges
residents to increase their physical activity and improve family eating habits in a 10-week program.
The Family Challenge is a 10-week bilingual program developed in collaboration with the American
Cancer Society, Blue Cross of California, Family HealthCare Network, Health Net, and Kaweah Delta
Health Care District. Participants receive a Family Challenge Tool Kit and participate in 10 weeks of
classes emphasizing behavioral changes in nutrition and physical activity. The tool kits include weekly
nutritional and physical activity goals, tips, recipes and accountability postcards to monitor family
A total of 8,000 bilingual (English and Spanish) tool kits have been distributed since the program’s
beginning in 2002 through community organizations in Tulare County. Approximately 1,500 people
have participated in the Family Challenge Program since 2002. Participants reported increased self-
esteem, developed a new perspective on fruits and vegetables, and reported changes in family interaction
as a result of physical activity together.
Carol Cribbs, a Tulare County Health Education Specialist, said the Family Challenge is unique because,
“We are taking the education to them, they don’t have to come to us. It’s not a diet, we are not teaching
them how to lose weight- we are teaching them a new lifestyle.”
Testimonials to the success of the Family Challenge include:
“After 24 years, I have quit smoking!”
“My nine-year-old son says he loves me more when I go outside and do physical activities with him. We
are outdoors more often and my energy is flying high!”
“I cook more nutritiously and my family likes the recipes because now I am making different foods.”
Cribbs said after each evaluation there is an increase in every area measured including fruit and
vegetable consumption, physical activity, water intake, and family time. “We know it is making a
difference because even after week one, they come back with success stories; they become their own
support group,” Cribbs said.
Word of the Family Challenge’s success has spread to other regions and agencies, both in and out of
Tulare County. “A few other programs have grown out of the family challenge and the women that go
through the family challenge then become volunteers for those programs,” Cribbs said. Congratulations
to Tulare County residents and health educators for taking the steps to live healthier lifestyles. The
Tulare County Family Challenge is an inspiring example of how communities can come together and
work toward a healthier California.
Funding provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Stamp Program, an equal opportunity provider & employer, through the California Nutrition Network.
For information about the California Food Stamp Program, please call 1-800-952-5253. In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture's policy,
this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis or race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, political beliefs, or disability. To file a complaint of
discrimination, write to the USDA Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington DC, 20250 or call
(202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD)